A bit less than a month ago ago, we received documentation confirming the legal name change we had applied for on behalf of our two younger kids. They have four legal names. Officially, their first names are Seth and Elizabeth, though of course we will be calling our littlest one Lizzie. Their second names are the names given to them at birth by their first parents. Their third names are their former surname, which is also the first/given name of their first father. And their new last name is the one that all five of us now share. They are beautiful names, names I hope they will be proud of throughout their lives. Two names were given to them by their first parents, and we have flanked those names with the two chosen by us.
Once we had the name change documents in hand, we were finally able to apply for our kids' Certificates of Canadian Citizenship. Our kids became Canadian citizens in May, just before we left for Ethiopia to take custody of them and bring them home...as Canadian citizens. But whereas those of us born in Canada possess birth certificates to prove our citizenship, Canadian citizens born outside of Canada (such as our kids) require this document called a Certificate of Canadian Citizenship. That's what we needed in order to complete the process.
I'm so impressed with Canada Immigration (CIC) in Sydney...specifically, the prompt and courteous service that they have provided us throughout our interactions with them (and our interactions with them started years ago already, shortly after our file landed in Ethiopia in April of 2008). I sent off the application and accompanying documents to CIC not even a month ago. Last week, the officer who was handling our file actually phoned me to tell me that our file was being processed, that all of our documentation was in order, and that we should expect the Certificates by the end of this week. I was grateful for her call, and found her to be so courteous and friendly, but was frankly a teeny bit skeptical that the documents would actually arrive as quickly as she'd said they would. Well, they arrived today...a day early!!
I have found quite emotional the receiving of all of this documentation. Surprisingly so. When, a month ago, I went to pick up the legal name change certificates, my eyes welled up to look at our children's full and legal names. My children, I thought with pride. And now, when I opened the envelope containing their little laminated Certificates and the accompanying congratulations letter signed by the Minister of Immigration, I was moved again. How long we have waited for this whole process to be finished! And now, despite the ups and downs and challenges of the past number of months, our kids are home and settling in well and flourishing, and we can provide proof that they are part of the Canadian family...two of our newest citizens. It's done! What a blessing. What an exclamation point to tie off this part of the journey!!